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Dunc

ice blue eclat excel

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I told my wife it's a future classic that will go up in value.... She wasn't impressed, but it was so cheap anyway it was inconsequential. I think she thought I'd drive round in it for a bit then get bored of it and get rid of it. Then when I was considering getting selling it, she was the one who insisted I kept it, as our little boy (then about 3 or 4) really loved it!!!

 

So i decided to "upgrade" it... cue about a 5 year project with what is known in project management circles as "scope creep" and countless hours in the garage. Now my kid is bigger (8) he thinks it's rubbish, can't even remember when we used to actually drive it, and wants a Zonda....

 

Mat.

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It wasn't all plain sailing.

 

HC was off the scale and was a fail. The testor kept going, and all he could find was a slight tightness in the front left brake and a dicky earth in the front sidelight (whuch typically had been working fine before driving to the station) A bit of wiggling with my hand inside the pod afterwards led to it working long enough to pass the inspection.

 

At the end of the test, he asked me if I wanted to lean it out a bit, but knowing it had passed its test 11 years and 5 miles ago, I reasoned that its unlikely to be an adjustment issue - and thought it was more likely to be plugs and filter. I said I would like to try with the filter out, and things improved markedly - it became borderline. The machine then prompted him to repeat the test at 2000rpm and the HC content was within range. Pass certificate issued.

 

Driving back to the newly rented (that morning) black operations garage, the front left brake began to stick - I cleaned the caliper slides about six months ago, so I suspect they will just need doing again - simple job. What was more worrying was that 3rd and 4th became difficult to select - having been perfect. I suspect something may have broken up with age on the selector, but its not something I have any prior experience of (toyota W58 box). Will take it for another drive when its taxed and see what its like.

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I fitted a couple of replacement tyres to the front, so now feel a bit better at driving it at speeds above 30mph, which was kind of all I was comfortable going on 15 year old tyres that were more licquorice than rubber.

I also decided to take it to tesco for its first wash and valet in 12 years. It came up really well.

 

post-9379-0-01738800-1413142760.jpg

 

I was so happy with how it looked that I decided to take it on a bit of a run to visit a friend, and it drove really well. Kept a very good constant temperature, the brakes are coming onto a bit of a game now everything is free to move, and the servo seems to be behaving. Heating, ventlation and wiper is a quantum leap ahead of my eclat, but....

 

My eclat just feels a bit more "sorted" and a bit more special. Weirdly, my eclat feels more sporty and lot lower, whereas the excel feels a bit more normal. Maybe it is the standard size steering wheel on the excel, standard gear lever and perhaps the colourscheme on the inside and outside (yellow and black interior on my eclat vs Light blue and dark blue interior on the excel). The eclat also seems to have a lower seat. The excel is wonderfully comfortable - it feels softer in the seat, softer sprung and softer (power) steering.

 

post-9379-0-57269600-1413143545.jpg

 

The eclat by contrast feels a lot more direct and immediate. I may get to appreciate the good points of the excel given time, but I think deep down, I'm an eclat man. Whilst the mechanics of the excel are easier to work on, they are a bit "normal", and the excel drives a little less specially. My excel probably needs rear shocks, but I prefer the suspension set up of my eclat.

 

The excel feels a little more normal, and in a sense - a little less special. I think my wife would happily drive around in the excel with its normal brakes and PAS, but for me, my first love is still the one.

 

Oh, and my V8 eclat would eat my excel for breakfast....and still be hungry.

 

post-9379-0-09497900-1413143636.jpg

post-9379-0-55492800-1413144025.jpg

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As you know Dunc, I had a very late Excel and have got a late Elite and had both for a year or so. The Excel is by far the "better" car because it is more of an every day driving proposition but there seems to be less of a sense of occasion somehow. I am splitting hairs a bit because I love them both but it is a heart vs head kind of thing. Your head would say take the Excel but....now I only have the Elite....

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Guy,

 

Yeah - thats exactly how I feel about it. On paper the excel should be a better driving car - but we are driving on tarmac.

 

Maybe if I fitted new rear shocks to the excel, and went through it replacing rubbber bushes, I'd feel more bonded with it after exploring its limits on a run round castle combe or Goodwood.

 

But first impressions of the excel are thats it's a little bit normal and bland. We went out for the evening last night and I took the eclat V8 after not driving it for 3 weeks, and instantly, it felt involving and special. Driving the excel 12 hours later didn't really show it up in a good comparison.

 

Maybe a rolling road tune, some bushes and £400 quid of Spax's finest might change how I feel about it, but at the moment, the hydraulic clutch, power steering, soft seats, soft suspension, and large diameter wheel make the whole package a bit less involving than I am used to.

 

I'm glad it is not just me that sees these cars as being totally different, despite being so similar in shape and concept.

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That looks proper special Dunc, to my eyes at least the first iteration of Excel (black bumpers before the epidemic of colour coding) are by far the neatest.

 

Hopefully more people will think so before they all disappear to scrap!

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In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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Looks very straight, I'd have to lower it at least an inch or two, but as an overall look goes, sharp. 

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Looks very straight, I'd have to lower it at least an inch or two, but as an overall look goes, sharp. 

 

The jury is still out on what to do with it. It needed rescuing and returned to the road - which I've now done.

 

If it was a keeper, I think some adjustable seat height Spax would make the world of a difference to it, probably dial in a 20-30mm drop and firm up the damping quite a lot.

 

I was half thinking of putting the oil restrictor mod into the head, some hi temp pads and using the wheels for the race car project to teach myself the circuits of the HSCC calendar. My mates have been at me for ages to join their track day fun, but my eclat V8 isn't a track car (I'm too attached to it and it is wet sumped) and my HSV is a bit too rare to risk bending.

 

Thing is, I have always believed pretty cars should be kept away from tracks. Track slags with horrible cosmetics are what is required for track days.

 

I think this one might just be too clean an example to cover in gravel rash.

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Thing is, I have always believed pretty cars should be kept away from tracks. Track slags with horrible cosmetics are what is required for track days.

 

I think this one might just be too clean an example to cover in gravel rash.

 

 

 

Agree wholeheartedly, this looks a nice time capsule, plenty of snotters about for trackdays. The ride height looks just what Lotus intended too.

 

 

PS Just realised it is being washed "off-premises", has your hosepipe at home developed a leak? ;)

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In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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Hi Dunc,

 

Interesting review, I drove a friends early excel, I found it more "solid" feeling, and a bit more "modern" but to me it felt better to drive than my S1.

 

I much prefer the styling on the eclat to the excel, which looks a bit "Toyota" to me, where the eclat looks more like an old British sports car, but that's just my personal preference. My car project would have been way simpler if I'd started with an excel, but I had got really attached to the eclat so went with the chassis conversion.

 

But I guess if you prefer the eclat that's the one you should keep. Well done for getting that excel back on the road though.

 

When you've done 10,000 miles in each of them and you have to change the rear brakes (and UJs on the eclat) you may change your mind ha ha!

 

Mat.

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I'd agree that the excel feels more modern, it's just that I don't particularly like that feeling.

 

You also have to put my comparison into context:

 

My totally standard excel is being compared to an eclat that has been significantly "gone over" and modified as well as being kept mechanically up to scratch. If it needs something - it gets it. My eclat has been converted to a manual steering rack, smaller steering wheel, short throw gearlever for its getrag, nice fresh bushes and joints, functional shock absorbers, slightly lowered suspension etc etc...

 

The excel has a steering wheel that feels massive in comparison - and it has light power steering, a normal length gearstick with wooden ball on the top, and what feels like soft sofa-esque padded seats. It's shocks are a complete unknown quantity, and it's rubber bushes are probably all at least 15 years old or older. It is perhaps not that surprising that in comparison to a sharpened up eclat S2, the standard excel feels a bit vague.

 

I'm comparing it to a pretty well fettled, modified and sorted S2 eclat. If I put a button steering wheel and a set of adjustable shocks onto the excel, and trimmed them to suit my taste's, it would be a more fair comparison.

 

I have owned an S1 eclat in the past (and own one now), but its been 10+ years since I regularly drove one. I'd expect the excel to drive better than a tired S1 like my red one in Scotland, but I do feel that both can be significantly improved in terms of driver appeal with a few simple mods.

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PS Just realised it is being washed "off-premises", has your hosepipe at home developed a leak? ;)

 

 

Ted last week:

"Whose car is this Daddy?"

 

Daddy:

 

"Um......"

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Ted last week:

"Whose car is this Daddy?"

 

Daddy:

 

"Um......"

 

ha ha - it will come out over the dinner table. "Mommy why can't we go in Dad's blue Lotus?"

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As you know Dunc, I had a very late Excel and have got a late Elite and had both for a year or so. The Excel is by far the "better" car because it is more of an every day driving proposition but there seems to be less of a sense of occasion somehow. I am splitting hairs a bit because I love them both but it is a heart vs head kind of thing. Your head would say take the Excel but....now I only have the Elite....

 

Similar here with late Excel and late Eclat. They are total different cars. Both have their right, both could brea your heart and your pocket :D

 

I was deeply in love with the Excel and wouldnt have changed over if not in particular the Riviera would have come across. Both cars have their pros and cons and we have to be thankfull, that Lotus has built so much different cars for each personal stage.

 

This ice blue beauty for example is a very good bridge for the time in between the later models... the advantage of the easier maintaining bits and the look and most of the feel (interiour) of the past.

 

Why are garages so small, when you need simply more space? :D

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If you gave it to your lady as a present... would it invite trouble or give you more breathing space on other projects?

The Ice blue on early rims and the non - colour coded bumpers is a very good colour combo.

:rofl: Excel.....modern... you need to get out more Dunc

It isn't like anything else I have driven but modern is not the phrase I would use.

I personally love the drive of the excel though......lots of feedback

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lol

 

It is modern relative to an eclat. Better demisting and ventilation, CV joints in place of UJ's power steering, no trunions, disc brakes all round etc.

 

I had it out for a drive today. It runs really well when cold, but has had a warm running problem. I was suspicious of the coil, plugs and leads but today I noticed it had a problem with the front carb overflowing petrol. I whipped the top of the carb off, moved the valve a bit, and checked the floats were buoyant and free to move. Seemed ok when I put it back together - maybe just a sticky tap valve, but a previous owner has changed the fuel pump, so I think I might just add a regulator to make sure I am not forcing fuel past a slightly sticky tap. I dont like lotus flambe!

 

On the plus side, the scratches in the bonnet polished out and are now all but invisble. On the negative side what I thought was paint under the petrol filler that had gone flat with petrol spill revealed itself to be flat paint from another repair. The body has had a new front left corner at some point, and it has also had paint on its rear left corner.

 

It got two replacement rear tyres fitted today, to go with the ones on the front I changed 2 weeks ago. It now has 4 newish matching tyres from my stores that are considerably younger than its previous rubber (the tyres it came with had plenty of tread, but were date marked 2000). I didn't fancy that, so popped a matching set of champiro 60's on. I also fitted a new bonnet ram and replaced the air filter. :-)

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Decided to fit a fuel pressure regulator.

 

Anyone got any first hand experience? It seems the dial on the top ones don't have a good reputation (described as being "junk" on a google search - but nobody says why?)

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Sytec-Proflow-fuel-Pressure-regulator-/231271044660?pt=UK_CarsParts_Vehicles_CarParts_SM&hash=item35d8d41634

 

I could get a malpassi filter king second hand for not much, which would probably be a better option. Gives you a decent filter as well.

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FILTER-KING-67mm-FUEL-PRESSURE-REGULATOR-GLASS-BOWL-/270973780502?pt=UK_CarsParts_Vehicles_CarParts_SM&hash=item3f174bc216

 

Thoughts

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